Dallas Mavericks Flashback: Western Conference Finals Game 1
Five years ago on May 17, 2011, the Dallas Mavericks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on their way to the title.
As the Dallas Mavericks continue to sit and wait for the playoffs to unfold and free agency to begin, we as Mavs fans get the opportunity to sit and reflect on the past. Over the past few years, there hasn’t been much to reflect on, so for this post we will be celebrating the 5-year anniversary of one of the greatest playoff performances in Dallas Mavericks history.
On this day, May 17, in the year 2011, the Mavericks played their first game of the Western Conference Finals against a young but dangerous Oklahoma City Thunder team led by Kevin Durant. The Mavs had just come off a 4-game demolition derby sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers and were finally being considered a potential championship team.
On the other side, the Thunder had finished off a hard fought 7-game series with the Memphis Grizzlies and their young corps of Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden were looking to prove to the NBA that they were ready to play, no matter their age.
Both of these teams still felt that they had something to prove in this series but maybe no one individual more than Dirk. It was clear right from the tip that Nowitzki was a man on a mission in this game. Being guarded tightly by a well-known defensive player in Serge Ibaka, Dirk took it to him so bad that the Thunder and Coach Scott Brooks didn’t know how to react.
Before the Thunder could even blink, Dirk had scored 10 points in less than 4 minutes. These ended up being his only points for the quarter, but shooting 4-4 and 2-2 from the free throw line shows just how dialed in he was.
By half time, Dirk had scored an additional 11 points to give him 21 in the first 24 minutes. He was shooting 8-9 from the field and 5-5 from the free throw line.
With 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, Dirk missed his 2nd shot. Coach Rick Carlisle promptly pulled him out of the game for the remainder of the quarter and for good reason. The 3rd quarter was completely controlled by Nowitzki who scored 17 points in the third quarter alone. That put him at 38 for the game on 10-12 from the field and an impressive 18-18 from the line.
Dirk then kept attacking for 10 more points in the 4th to finish the game with an incredible 48 points on 15 total shots. He made 12 of those shots while adding an unbelievable 24-24 from the charity stripe. Needless to say, the Mavericks won the game 121-112 while Jason Terry helped Dirk out with his own 24 points and J.J. Barea with 21.
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Dallas of course went on to finish off the Thunder in 5 games on our way to the championship win over the Miami Heat. No matter what kind of situation the Mavs have been in over the past seasons, we will always be indebted to the greatest Mavericks player in history and one of the best basketball players of all time, Dirk Nowitzki. (All stats per basketball-reference.com)